Speedy Venison Biryani

The South African COVID-19 lockdown started 4 days before my first hunting trip for 2020 was set to commence… So unfortunately the recently regained freezer space can only be filled once all this home-schooling and remote work stuff comes to an end. In the meantime, I dredged the bottom of the freezer and came across a block of Impala from last season. Looking at the amount of sinew I had to cut away it was probably a shoulder. No need to sigh, as there’s a way around the chewy boringness usually presented by cuts like this… mouth-watering biryani, too easy to foul up.


  • Venison of choice (+/- 1kg)
  • 1 cup Basmati rice
  • 2 peeled and diced tomatoes
  • 2 chopped onions
  • ½ tsp crushed garlic
  • 2-4 Tbsp Biryani Masala
  • ½ Tbsp Biryani Spice optional (Blend of Turmeric, Cumin, Coriander)
  • 1 or 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 tsp salt


Raita-style sauce:

Add the following components to a bowl and stir:

  • 1 ½ cups plain yoghurt
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 Tbsp vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Diced/grated cucumber



Soak the Basmati rice in 3 cups of water for about 20min. Thereafter turn on the heat and once the water starts to boil drop the heat back down to keep the rice at a simmer. In less than 10 min the rice should be perfect.

While the rice is going, cut your meat block into chunks. These chunks should be larger than the usual cubes cut for stews or Stroganoff. The added size prevents the chunks from being overcooked. 

Add some oil to a pan and bring the heat up to max. Add the venison chunks and salt;  sear for about 3-5 minutes. The meat should still be raw inside so resist the urge to cook the meat through. Remove the chunks, clean out the pan and bring some new oil up to max heat.

Add the garlic and onions to the pan. As the onions are browning, add in the chopped tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes. Drop the heat way down and re-introduce the venison along with the Biryani spices and Bay Leaves. Stir thoroughly whilst adding the rice in scoops.

By now the meat should be perfectly medium. Keep it going if you prefer a more well-done finish. Smother in Raita and serve immediately.

Serves: 4



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